The phantom comic strip online
The Story of the Phantom (The Phantom, #1) by Lee FalkIt is a little embarrassing to admit I like this book as much as I do, for it is an odd book in virtually every way, so odd that it should not work at all. The seventies saw many oddities in paperback publishing, including series based on no-longer popular comic strips and still popular comic books. The Phantom series lasted 15 books by a few different authors, most (all?) based on stories that had appeared in the comic strip created by Lee Falk in 1936. This one, the first, introduces the character to new readers and was written by Falk.
Falk had long been a quirky writer in his comic strip, introducing character elements that make little sense, repeating himself frequently, introducing absurdities in the character’s legend and persona, and favoring incomplete sentences for captions, such as, “For – Ghost who walks.” To go in reverse order, one might think that anybody with such a minimalist prose style would be terrible at writing a novel, but while prone to incomplete sentences, especially later in the book, Falk’s style is so utterly readable that his prose gives pleasure.
Falk does repeat himself frequently, but that is what the paperback series is really about. Those books not written by Falk proclaim on their covers that they are based on one of his comic strip stories. This book, written by Falk, begins by introducing the character and his legend, then segues into the bizarre structure for a novelization, used in THE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS and THE CANTERBERRY TALES, of presenting a series of short stories within a narrative frame, here the Twentieth Phantom’s twelve year old son, Kit, learning of his heritage and his ancestors, some of whose tales are retold. Two-thirds of the way in, that structure turns to the episodic adventures of Kit’s education in America, its episodic quality reading more like short stories than a novel.
Some of the absurdities in the character’s jungle setting and the legend of the Phantoms that Falk had built up over more than 35 years of comic strip stories are addressed, as Falk tries to give credible explanations for the incredible problems, rather than changing or ignoring them. He does a pretty good job, really, which will probably please his fans who are slightly bothered by the absurdities, for they can now justify them. The rest of us may think that Falk has done as well as can be done with them, but the need to justify absurdities itself shows that there is a problem.
The character elements still make little sense. Nobody in twenty-one generations of Phantoms breaks with traditions, acts selfishly, neglects to keep the written record of his adventures or prepare his own tomb? Nobody takes off or much alters that stupid lavender costume and black mask with the underwear on the outside? Really?
It was my assumption going in that this book would be for fans, only. Credit Lee Falk that he had it in him to write a book, no matter how strange in narrative structure and Phantom lore, that is so eminently readable and even enjoyable.
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Related Collections 20 Newspaper strips. Prince Valiant. View all. Feluda Mysteries: Murder by the Sea. The Phantom Comic Book: No. The Ghost Who Walks.
This is Lee Falk as a young man. He wrote the strip every day of the week for 63 years, which kind of puts my year run in perspective. He kept pace with the times without sacrificing the genius of the original. I did my best to emulate Falk when it was my turn to both advance and safeguard the legacy. Falk produced and directed stage plays most of his career, but never lost his passion for writing the Phantom and Mandrake the Magician, his other notable creation from the golden age of newspaper comics. Great fun!
The Phantom is a long-running American adventure comic strip, first published by Mandrake the Magician creator Lee Falk in February The main character, the Phantom, is a fictional costumed crime-fighter who operates from the fictional African country of Bangalla.
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The Phantom is a comic strip created by Lee Falk also creator of Mandrake the Magician , recounting the adventures of a costumed crime-fighter called the Phantom. The series began with a daily newspaper strip on February 17, [[, which was joined by a color Sunday strip in May of ; both are still running as of and are read by millions of people every day. The Phantom is also successfully published in comic books throughout the world, by several different publishers. The Phantom is credited as being the first "costumed superhero", i. Previous fictional crime fighters, such as Zorro and Doc Savage , were not designed especially for newspaper comics. The Phantom wears a black mask and a purple skintight costume. Creator Lee Falk had originally envisioned a grey costume and even considered naming his creation "The Grey Ghost" before settling on "The Phantom".
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